October 7, 2012
BRACE NOT ENOUGH
Thomas pair help Notre Dame to 2-2 tie
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Freshman forward Crystal Thomas scored twice midway through the first half, but Notre Dame had to settle for a 2-2 tie with Rutgers on a soggy Sunday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.
Freshman defender Von Rueden had a hand in both Fighting Irish goals, although only officially earning an assist on Thomas’ second score. Sophomore defender Sammy Scofield also was credited with an assist on the second Notre Dame goal, as the Fighting Irish stretched theircurrent unbeaten streak to eight matches.
Notre Dame (10-3-2, 6-0-1 BIG EAST) tripled Rutgers’ output in total shots by a 27-9 margin. The Fighting Irish also held a 10-4edge in shots on goal, along with a 14-3 advantage on corner kicks.
Sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Voigt made one save in the first half before giving way to freshman Elyse Hight , who also turned aside one shot while playing the entire second half and both overtime periods. At the other end of the pitch, Emmy Simpkins went the distance in goal for Rutgers, making eight saves.
“Aside from the two goals we gave up, I thought we continued to show improvement and growth today,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “We’re creating good scoring chances and were probably a bit unlucky, between the crossbar, the post and a strong day from their keeper, not to have a few more goals on the board. This was good for us, to be tested and playing from behind, in some difficult weather conditions, and we answered that challenge pretty well, especially in the second half and overtime.”
Rutgers (9-6-1, 2-5-1) got on the board first in the 11th minute, starting with a corner kick from Cassie Inacio. Theservice from the right-side flag came off a Fighting Irish defender and landed at the feet of Shannon Woeller, whose initial shot was knocked down by Voigt. The rebound came right back to Woeller 12 yards out on the left side of the box and she drove a left-footed shot through traffic inside the leftpost.
Just past the midpoint a shot by Katie Naughton rang hard off the left post. Shortly after RU cleared away the danger, junior midfielder Mandy Laddish had her own brush with the woodwork, driving her shot from the top of the box off the crossbar in the 28th minute.
A free kick by Brittany Von Rueden’s service flew into the goalmouth and was not handled cleanly by Simpkins, with the ball spilling to Thomas on the right side of the six-yard box. Her initial shot was saved, but the rebound popped right back to Thomas who beat Simpkins low inside the near right post in the 29th minute.
A little more than six minutes later, Notre Dame had the lead, and again. Von Rueden’s free kick from 45 yards out on the left connected with Scofield near the top of the box, and the second-year defender flicked a header out to the right side of the area for Thomas. The rookie striker then settled the ball and then hammered home a shot from 12 yards out for her first career two-goal match.
Just when it seemed the momentum was all in Notre Dame’s corner, Rutgers came back with the equalizer in the 36th minute. Tricia DiPaolo fired a free kick from the right, with the ball dipping just as it got to Voigt 10 yards out in the goalmouth. Voigt tried to catch the ball on the short-hop, but the ball squirted free behind her and Stefanie Scholz outraced her mark to the rebound, poking it into the vacated net.
Thomas nearly flipped the match back in Notre Dame’s favor, and chalked up a hat trick in the process, taking a pass on the right side of the area and ripping a rising shot that twisted across the face of goal towards the upper left corner in the 39th minute. The shot beat Simpkins, but couldn’t solve the crossbar, the third time in the match that the woodwork denied a Fighting Irish score .
Early in the second overtime, Thomas made another strong bid for the hat trick, this time knocking down an attempted Rutgers clearance off a corner kick. Thomas cracked a rising left-footed shot from the top of the box that Simpkins did well to parry over the bar, allowing her defense to recover and ultimately turn back the best scoring chance for either side for the remainder of the afternoon.
Notre Dame travels to Washington DC to take No. 11 Georgetown at North Kehoe Field at 3 p.m. (ET) Friday w in a battle of unbeatens in the Big East’s National Division.